What area does this consultation apply to?
Deeban Spit is located on the southern side of the Port Hacking estaury near the suburbs of Bundeena and Maainbar. The area that is the subject of the consultation is the intertidal sand flats and sea grass beds to the west of the exposed Deeban Spit.
The map shows a red and green zone in the area to the west of Deeban Spit. The outer edge of the green zone corresponds to the edge of the large sand bank, which is generally exposed at low tide and the edge of the sea grass bed further west, and basically aligns with the navigation channel. The green zone represents a band of approximately 20m inwards from this outer edge. It also contains the dredged channel allowing access to Fishermans Bay and the dredged area of the Bay itself. The green zone represent the area which many boats currently nudge up, to discharge passengers and materials to spend time on the sand flats. The red zone comprises the remainder of the area.
It should be noted that the exposed area of the Deeban Spit itself, popular with boaters and picnickers is excluded from this consultation, as there are no changes proposed to this popular area under this consultation or other earlier submissions by Council.
What are the important features of Deeban Spit?
The shallow waters to the west of Deeban Spit contain important feeding areas for migratory birds, which are exposed at low tide, and important sea grass beds that provide nursery areas for many of the fish that inhabit Port Hacking.
In recognition of the ecological sensitivity of the area to the west of Deeban Spit, several restrictions on usage already apply in the area. These include restrictions on use of fishing nets, similar to the rest of Port Hacking, and restrictions on the taking of shellfish.
Increased restrictions in the waters to the west of Deeban Spit area have potential to impact on the community’s use and enjoyment of the area. While anchoring and propeller scour have potential to impact on ecological values, the western Spit is also an important recreation resource for the community.
The protection of this area needs to be balanced against the long held recreational use by young people, families and visitors, and its importance to the local tourist economy and other local businesses.
When are any restrictions likely to come into effect?
This consultation relates to consideration of the Marine Park Estate in the Sydney Region that was undertaken last year. Progress of this project is now on hold, and no timeframe has been provided for when it may recommence. If the project recommences the feedback obtained from this consultation will be used to inform further submissions by Council. Ultimately any decisions made on usage of this area will be made by the State Government.
What about other uses not listed in the survey?
Marine Parks provide an opportunity to manage and restrict a limited range of uses. If a use is not listed in the survey, such as fishing, then there are no changes being considered for that use and existing arrangements will continue.